Report from the World Hydrogen Energy Conference WHEC 2016

In June 2016 Spain city Zaragoza hosted the World Hydrogen Energy Conference 2016. The event united 800 people from 60 countries. There were 400 presentations on 8 parallel sessions on the most recent developments in the hydrogen sector. Ukrainians were present on this conference as well.
Everything on the conference was confirming the fact that hydrogen technologies are ready and they started to spread all around the world. Below we present some examples to prove that.

WHEC2016 H2 cars


The director of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) program, Bart Biebuick, informed that in the frame of their project they already implemented > 1500 FCEVs and 49 HRSs with more cars and stations to come. Moreover, soon they will have 140 FC buses in the frame of a new demo project JIVE. The number of FC CHP installations will increase to over 2000 across the Europe. Total capacity of electrolyzes used in the Power-to-gas activities in the FCH JU program increased to 6 MW.
The director of the FC and H2 Group of Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), Eiji Ohira, informed that Japan has the Strategy Energy Plan confirmed by the government. They expect that cost of hydrogen will become lower than the cost of fuel for hybrid vehicles by 2020. To this date, they expect to have 20000 Toyota Mirai running in the country. Now Japan has 77 stations, more than the entire EU.
Communications director of the California Fuel Cell Partnership, Chris White, reported that California has 19 open retail H2 stations. They are constantly monitored and their status is available on the portal so that customers are able to check availability. The Partnership expects to have more than 100 stations in 2020.
Eric Denhoff from the Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association informed that China has ordered 300 hydrogen buses from the Ballard company. This is a huge boost to the H2 bus industry. He also stated that availability of H2 refueling stations is not the problem anymore, because the company Greenline Innovation completed their 200th hydrogen station.
Chief Technology Officer of ITM Power, Simon Bourne, indicated that 20% of wind capacity of the United Kingdom (over a 1000GW) was not used in 2015. In money terms, over 1 £ bln was spend on grid balancing in 204-2015, because as wind turbine is turning to high the frequency goes down. The solution is to use this excess of energy, for example in electrolizers. They are very effective and responsive to power intermittence. Obtained hydrogen can be mixed with natural gas by injecting it to gas grids.
Note: a 2015 UKHSA study on injecting hydrogen in the gas network concluded that there was no negative impact of adding 20% of H2 in the gas grid. Such gas mixture does not affect pipes and does not pose safety problems. As the gas network has five times the capacity of the electricity network, it is a perfect solution to accept excess of clean energy in form of hydrogen gas.


WHEC2016 presentations

During the conference, International Association for Hydrogen Energy (IAHE) held the meeting of all national hydrogen associations of the world. More than 40 countries were present, including Ukraine, presented by our Association. Everyone presented ongoing activities and perspectives. We used this opportunity to exchange with our neighbors from Romania and Poland on their experience in development of hydrogen movement.
Besides, if you are student or young scientist, the membership in the IAHE for you is free.

There were much more interesting things happening on the conference, but there are so many that it is impossible to cover all of them in the short article.
You can check most of the plenary presentations on this link.

Viacheslav Zgonnik


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